Over the summer I had the fantastic opportunity to go abroad to Lusaka, Zambia to undergo my dissertation research for my degree in Social Anthropology. I went to Zambia with the hopes to understand why people may not be doing first aid, why first aid courses may not be useful and the risks involved in doing first aid. Over the course of 30 days I interviewed, and observed, taxi drivers, bus drivers, First Aid Africa, Zambia Red cross and had meetings with Ministry of Health Zambia and the World Health Organisation. I found that despite the lack of laws protecting first aiders, and the risk involved in this, that many Zambians rushed to help their ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ in need.
Before I left I was anxious about meeting enough participants for my research, and also meeting people I could spend my free time with. I was aware that I would be spending lots of time with people in a research capacity, but I was worried that I would not make friends outside of my research. This ended up not being a problem, I had the opportunity to stay with the head of First Aid Africa during my time in Zambia, and met some fantastic people. I have made lasting friendships, and I continue to keep in contact. During my time in Zambia I was also able to meet several people from the World Health Organisation, and had the privilege of being asked If I could send them my research upon completion.
I learnt many things during my time in Lusaka. Most importantly I was able to learn how risky it can be to help someone in a medical emergency, and how the Zambian people rally together and come to their fellow Zambian’s aid despite the risk of arrest and community justice. I had done some independent travel before, but this experience was especially fantastic in building my confidence to approach new people and travel by myself. Without the Go Abroad Fund my research would not have been possible, and the vital information I gathered during my time in Zambia would not have been discussed with important emergency healthcare organisations.